2014 NCAA Tournament: South Region Preview
While this region could deliver the top two picks in the 2014 NBA Draft and have about seven total Top 20 picks it is lacking in quality of depth overall. There are about 14 total draftable prospects as of today on the NDI Big Board from this region.
It is very top heavy in the South Region in terms of NBA talent and while the teams are good as well, they do not have a lot of individual talent that could carry a team for 5-6 wins in a row. One of the highest rated prospects, Joel Embiid, is on the shelf for the first 1-2 games for Kansas and might not play at all if they falter without him. There is a lot of raw talent in this region that has mixed reviews when talking to NBA Decision-Makers about where they are on boards internally.
This is a unique region in terms of team talent versus individual talent.
Top Rated Prospects (REGIONAL TALENT RATING 3/4)
Other Prospects To Watch: Casey Prather (Florida), LaQuinton Ross (Ohio State), Dwight Powell (Stanford), Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Patric Young (Florida), Josh Scott (Colorado), Talib Zanna (Pittsburgh), Sam Thompson (Ohio State), Lamar Patterson (Pittsburgh), James Robinson (Pittsburgh), Trevor Cooney (Syracuse), and Brannen Greene (Kansas)
Small School Prospects
Game To Watch
No. 8 Seed Colorado Buffaloes vs. No. 9 Seed Pittsburgh Panthers
Once Spencer Dinwiddie went down to a season ending ACL tear the Buffaloes went 9-8 in his absence. He is the catalyst to their offense, but without Dinwiddie in the line-up the Buffaloes have become a tough rebounding team with good size and athleticism. The Panthers are a similar team that rebounds well, plays with efficiency, and had their offense rolling until losing in the ACC Tournament to Virginia scoring 80+ points per game in three straight games. This game has the potential to be an up-and-down scoring affair, but will ultimately be won in the paint between the play of Talib Zanna and Josh Scott.
No. 5 Seed VCU Rams vs. No. 4 UCLA Bruins (Reddic vs. Anderson)
No. 2 Seed Kansas Jayhawks vs. No. 3 Seed Syracuse Orange (Wiggins vs. Grant)
No. 1 Seed Florida Gators vs. No. 4 Seed UCLA Bruins (Prather vs. Anderson)
Most To Gain
NBA Decision-Makers are torn on the concept of the skill of Kyle Anderson translating to the next level versus the athleticism not translating to the next level. “Slo-Mo” is not a traditional NBA athlete, but has played at such a high level creating mismatches and leading his team. Most important — UCLA has been winning games with his versatility. The Bruins are a sneaky Final Four contender if they can play with toughness allowing their backcourt trio of Anderson, Jordan Adams, and Zach LaVine carry them on the offensive end. On the other hand, a physical, more traditionally athletic team could expose Anderson proving the skeptics right. A few wins and an upset or two could be Anderson’s ticket to a first round lock for the upcoming draft.
Most To Lose
This years crop of big, athletic point guards has disappointed. Actually, the position as a whole has disappointing allowing Tyler Ennis to become a potential lottery pick with his steady, efficient play. He led the Orange to a No. 1 Overall ranking and an undefeated record for a while. Then the team began to lose, he was not as efficient, and an early exit in the tournament behind a poor game or two could put doubt in the eyes of NBA Decision-Makers. Ennis is a talented point guard that makes plays when called upon, leads like a traditional point guard, and shoots the ball well, but he has a lot to lose if the Orange are not playing deep into March and April this year.
Elite Eight Representatives
No. 3 Seed Syracuse Orange over No. 1 Seed Florida Gators